Istanbul Pera Neighborhood
Mesrutiyet Street (Pera Neighborhood) Hotels and Restaurants
Historical Peninsula was for centuries the main area of settlement in Istanbul. Galata Neighborhood was the best known settlement on the north of Golden Horn. Pera was the name of the hillside area behind Galata. This area is known today as Tepebaşı and located in Beyoglu district.
When Galata quarter got overpopulated during Ottoman period and settlement extended over the walls, Pera became a lively neighborhood in 18th Century.
Istanbul in 19th Century
It was not until 1850 that Pera became a real center of attraction. When many embassy buildings opened in the quarter, Pera began to be occupied by foreign settlers. Italian, French, Orthodox Greek, Armenian and Jewish people settled there.
Moving to Dolmabahce Palace from Topkapi Palace
Life quality in the other part of the city surpassed the Historical Peninsula after Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid left Topkapı Palace in 1856 and moved into Dolmabahce Palace, which was built in the western architectural style.
While Muslim population in the Historical Peninsula was living a modest and conservative life, Pera quarter was regarded as Paris of the East due to parties, balls and art events held there.
19th Century Istanbul – Grand Rue De Pera
In this period, luxurious hotels like Pera Palace, gorgeous mansions and banks were built and elegant shops and restaurants opened. The cultural richness of this period can best be seen in Grand Rue De Pera, today known as Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Street). Beautiful consulate buildings, mansions, hotels and restaurants are still there.
Beyoglu in 19th Century
Bosphorus Becoming More Popular in 19th Century Istanbul
This cultural development and enrichment in Pera manifested itself in Bosphorus areas as well. In the late Ottoman period in 19th Century, Ottoman Sultans, Pashas, Ambassadors and local and foreign rich people of the city started by built luxurious summer houses for themselves.
In this century, Pera became the winter resort and Bosphorus area became the summer resort for the elite of the city.
Pera Mesrutiyet Street Hotels and Restaurants
While walking from Taksim Square to Tunnel along Istiklal Street, you will see a street named Asmalı Mescit on your right. This street took its name from a small mosque that no longer exits. This narrow and long street is definitely worth seeing since it is famous for its art galleries, restaurants and pubs.
From Asmalı Mescit street, you can reach Meşrutiyet Street which goes along Pera. This street is parallel to Istiklal Avenue. Just like Istiklal Avenue, it begins from Tunnel Square and goes until British Consulate General.
Pera Palace Hotel
At the very center of Meşrutiyet Street is a Pera Palace Hotel. Pera Palace is an elegant structure built by a French architect named Alexander Vallury who designed many beautiful buildings in Istanbul. Guests of Orient Express train, which was carrying the rich travelers of Europe, were usually staying in this hotel.
Agatha Cristie, Greta Garbo, English King Edward VIII and the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk accommodated in the hotel.
Agatha Christie Murder in the Orient Express
Agatha Christie wrote his famous novel Murder in the Orient Express while she was staying in Pera Palace Hotel. It is still one of the most elegant hotels of Istanbul today with its name Pera Palace Jumeriah.
Final Destination of Orient Express Train
The most important place in Pera is definitely Pera Museum. The building known previously as Bristol Hotel was converted into a museum and it is now home to special private collections.
The most important piece of art in the museum is the painting named The Tortoise Trainer (from 1906) by Osman Hamdi, who is the most influential representative of Ottoman painting. Osman Hamdi is also the founder of Istanbul Archeological Museums.
In the center of Pera, there is Mikla Restaurant on the terrace of Marmara Pera Hotel. This restaurant is one of the most popular places in the city with its unmatched scenery and delicious foods.
Grand Hotel de Londres
Another historical hotel of Pera is Büyük Londra Oteli (Grand Hotel de Londres). With a deep rooted history, this hotel entertained the famous writer Ernest Hemingway.
Soho House Hotel
Old American Consulate building was converted into a hotel with the name Soho House Istanbul. Café on the garden of this great concept hotel is a perfect stopover especially during the summer.
Soho House Hotel former American Consulate
Popular Restaurants of Mesturiyet Street
Except for Mikla Restaurant, other important restaurants of Pera are Nu Pera, Meze by Lemon Tree and Big Chefs. You may find more information about food in Best Restaurants in Taksim blog post.